Martin: "Where are you from?"
Joseph: "From here, Hollywood, pretty much."
M: "Do you have friends around from back in the day?"
J: "Yeah, there’s a couple, a couple kids around, yeah. A lot of them died, a lot of ‘em died. A lot of ‘em are dead, yeah. Streets got ‘em. A lot of drug overdoses."
M: "Are you living on the streets these days?"
J: "Oh yeah, I had an apartment, one of the neighbors went off… mental, mental illness and I got stabbed nine times. I spent twenty some years in prison, come out here and get stabbed." M: "How old were you when you went to prison for the first time?"
J: "I went to prison in Florida the first time at twenty-two. I was playing AAA baseball, I got scouted by the St. Louis Cardinals. I went down there out of high school on a scholarship. And back then, in the eighties, you didn’t get paid to play AAA ball so you had to do something for income. So we were trafficking cocaine. I got busted, ended up doing four years. I came out here and got caught in ’93 and could’t get out of it. The system. It’s definitely designed to keep you in there. It go like ’93 to 2012, incarcerated. Not all in one stretch. The last ten years have all been petty theft and probation."
M: "For petty theft?"
J: "Yeah, things they were putting’ me in prison for a year ago is now a misdemeanor. That’s just crazy. You can get it taken off your record but I can’t get my life back. The best thing they ever did was elect Obama in the presidency man ‘cause the minute everybody got free health care, the crime rate went down, cause everybody got on methadone. That’s how I got off of it. I don’t do it anymore. I’ve been off it for over a year now. That’s how I weaned myself from heroin." M: "What happens when you go to jail, addicted?"
J: "You kick it for a minute but there’s drugs everywhere. That’s how I got turned onto it, when I was in prison."
J: "Yeah, everyone sleeps their time away."
M: "Well you’re still young, fifity-five." J: "Yeah, I feel young too. I’m in good shape. Real good shape. I found God. Whenever I talk to him, everything became really much better, much better, yeah. I grew the fuck up at a point, you know? I had to.”
West Hollywood, California